2004 Le Mans Tech Regs. – The (LMP1 etc.) Detail
David Legangneux has been exploring the text of the just released regulations, and comes up with these initial observations:

Fuel tank: 90 litre maximum for LMP1 & LMP2 but 80 litre maximum for LM P900, LM P675 and LM GTP.

Rear wing: 200 cm maximum (the width of the car) for LMP1 & LMP2 but 180 cm maximum for LM P900, LMP675 & LM GTP.

As already understood, carbon 675 cars will race against the 900s / LMP1s / GTPs, while aluminium (and spaceframe) 675s will race against LMP2s.

So a smaller fuel tank and a narrower rear wing for the current prototypes against the new prototypes. Until now, the main (known) difference was (smaller) 2003 restrictors for the current prototypes and (larger) 2002 restrictors for the new prototypes. It seems that the ACO has concluded that it wasn’t enough to balance out any aerodynamic disadvantage with a new LMP1 solely with smaller restrictors for the older cars.

More fuel stops for the current prototypes then, but at Le Mans in particular, will a narrower rear wing actually have much of an effect on lap times?

2004 is going to be very much an interim year….while 2005 looks as though it is going to be more difficult for the older cars (Article 19, below) ….

Art. 19 - CONDITIONS FOR THE ELIGIBILITY OF CARS BUILT ACCORDING TO THE ACO TECHNICAL REGULATIONS FOR LMP AND LMGTP ABOVE
Cars built before 01/01/2004 and completely complying with the ACO technical regulations for LMP and LM GTP cars above, are admitted until 31/12/2005.
However, the ACO wish to ensure the competitiveness of the cars built in compliance with the 2004 ACO technical regulations for Prototype. Consequently, the ACO, in addition to the measures already applied and after the first results of the new cars in racing conditions, will enforce in 2005 for the car built before 01/01/2004 a part or all the following modifications :
- Minimum weight : 950 kg (LMP900), 720 kg (LMP675) ;
- Addition of a skid block : thickness 10 mm ;
- Reduction of the restrictor area by 5% ;
If necessary, additional measures could be applied.

 

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